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Two more rail operators plan Eurostar-rival services between France and UK

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The Local France - [email protected]
Two more rail operators plan Eurostar-rival services between France and UK
Eurostar may soon have up to three rivals for its cross-Channel services. (Photo by STEFANO RELLANDINI / AFP)

Two more potential rivals for Eurostar emerge, with three companies now saying that they intend to launch bids for the UK-France link.

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Three rail operators are now reportedly lining up plans to take on Eurostar by opening cross-Channel rail services between France, England, Belgium and the Netherlands.

A group of companies, including British transport group Mobico (formerly National Express), have already announced that they plan to launch a high-speed rail service using the Channel Tunnel.

No bid has so far been submitted. 

READ ALSO Group of companies planning to launch Eurostar rival

Now, details of plans from two more businesses have been revealed.

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Unconfirmed reports in UK newspaper The Telegraph say that Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group is lining up a bid to run services between Paris, London, Brussels, and Amsterdam from 2025 - which would see Virgin Rail return to service four years after it lost the West Coast franchise in the UK. 

Details, however, are sketchy, and Virgin’s only public comment on the reports described them as “rumours”.

Meanwhile, Dutch daily Algemeen Dagblad (AD) reports that Netherlands-based Heuro plans to run more than a dozen daily trains between Amsterdam, Paris, and London, as well as two daily trains from Groningen within two years, AD reports.

Heuro plans to make 16 daily return trips between Amsterdam and Paris by 2028, and 15 daily return trips to London, and intends to offer cheaper tickets than Eurostar. 

Eurostar transported almost 15 million passengers between London, Paris and Amsterdam last year. And there are 55 daily flights between Amsterdam and London, according to AD.

Getlink, which owns and operates the Channel Tunnel, has said that there is capacity to double the number of daily services between the UK and Europe.

However, it is not clear where passengers on these services will be checked-in and have their passports processed - since Brexit Eurostar has been forced to run a third less services due to limited space at London St Pancras station and the increased security checks required since the border became an EU external border.

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Maria Wilson 2023/11/16 12:08
Will this affect Eurotunnel?

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